Every week Knysna & Partners highlights activities which can be enjoyed in the Greater Knysna area, from wild (sometimes adrenaline-fuelling) pursuits to milder, more relaxing options.
Mild Adventure - Historical Millwood Goldmine Tour
This is a popular tour on the renowned Rheenendal Ramble tourist route led by accredited and extremely knowledgeable tour guide, Andrew Aikman. His captivating tales of the past will take you back in time to a short- lived period in Knysna’s history, when the area was in the grips of man’s relentless thirst for gold. The gold rush lasted a little more than a decade due to the fact that gold was not found in large enough quantities to sustain the large number of miners.
The first stop on the tour is a visit to Mother Holly’s, one of the last remaining buildings of this gold mining boom. It houses a tea garden and a museum which contains fascinating relics of the past, not only of the mining era but also of the timber industry that is so deeply ingrained in our history. The tour includes visits to two abandoned mines shafts, including the well-known Bendigo Mine, one of the mines in the area bearing reef gold. Walking through these dark, damp chambers blasted out of hard bedrock, one can only imagine the gruelling life of these hopeful miners.
End off with a lunch at Totties Farm Kitchen, where you will find the most sublime salads and one of the best burgers in all of the Garden Route.
• Gold Mine Day Trip (Thursdays from 09h00) - Jubliee Creek Gold Mine Walk, Lunch @ Mother Holly’s, Gold Mine Tour, High Tea at Totties Farm Kitchen @ R950 per adult
• Mine and Bike Day Trip (Friday’s from 10h00) – Mine Tour, Refreshments at Mother Holly’s, 1hr20min cycle through indigenous forest and fynbos, lunch at Totties Farm Kitchen @ R950 per adult.
• Standard Goldmine Tour (Wed – Sunday: 10h00, 12h00,14h00) @ R200 per adult
• Combo Deal (Sunday’s from 10h00) – Gold Mine Tour, Buffet Luncheon @ Totties Farm Kitchen @R325 per person.
Bookings essential via Totties Farm Kitchen 074 228 4103/ 044 389 0092
Wild Adventure - Bush Pig Trail
This 6,5km circular route weaves through several diverse habitats and incorporates many of the Goukamma Nature Reserve's best natural attributes. You will have to first pull your way across the width of the Goukamma River on a little winch boat to get to the start of the trail on the other side. Immediately the pathway ascends, and eventually affords hikers with all-encompassing views of the Goukamma River Valley, the estuary and Indian Ocean to the south and the distant Outeniqua Mountains to the north. The route takes two to three hours, depending on your pace and how often you stop to drink in the sublime scenery.
The trail traverses one of South Africa’s highest and most extensive dune fields, where a large variety of both fynbos and forest species prosper. Initially, the landscape is dominated by particularly large white bristle bushes (Metalasia muricata), also known as Blombos, which are crowned with sprays of white flowers that infuse the air with their honey-like scent. The trail ascends further upward and extends westward along a fynbos covered ridge for some time. Suddenly the vegetation shifts, veering into the cooler, lush tracts where coastal dune forest is rooted in abundance.
Nearing the end of the trail, there is an option to take a right turn towards the beach, were you can sit and enjoy the untainted shoreline of the reserve, which extends for 14km in length. Then it is just a short walk back to the river, where you need to pull yourself across once again to the other side where you can enjoy a picnic on the edge of the river bank. A swim in the pure, tanin-tinted river is an absolute must and the best way to end off this amazing hike!
Summer is in full swing and Knysna & Partners will be highlighting many of the varied activities which can be enjoyed throughout the Greater Knysna area over the season, from wild (sometimes adrenaline-fuelling) pursuits to milder, more relaxing options.
Mild Adventure _ Moonlight Meander & Starlight Trail
Judy Dixon's has been conducting her legendary Moonlight Meander educational walk for 18 years now and it is one of the most popular activities in the region. Her classroom is one of the region’s most prized, and popular natural assets: Gericke’s Point. On these walks Judy Dixon provides insight into the fascinating life cycles and incredible adaptations of the many creatures that can be found thriving within the intertidal zones of our Garden Route coastline. A marine biologist and accredited field guide, Judy exudes a real passion and love for the sea’s complex web of life. Her knowledge is spellbinding. Evening and spring low tides provide the perfect opportunity to observe the various species of life found within the myriad of tidal pools. During the day, many are hidden away in nooks and crannies to avoid predators, but at night the tidal pools visibly teem with life of all shapes and colours; spiny starfish, octopus, crabs, purple urchins, plum anemones, giant periwinkels, orange nudibranch and a variety of fish. Throughout the tour, Judy gives a fascinating commentary about this most enchanting tidal pool spectacle.
Wild Adventure – Sail through the Knysna Heads
The aesthetic nature of the Knysna Estuary and adjacent rugged coastline provide our local sailing operators with the perfect backdrop for charters. You will start by gliding across the the iconic Knysna Estuary, which holds a profusion of life above and beneath the surface. As you approach the aperture of this estuarine system you will immediately be in awe of the towering sandstone cliffs that rise up on either side. This dynamic environment shifts continually in accordance with the tides and the conditions at sea. Some days a safe passage through the heads in not possible. But when conditions are right, vessels can navigate the heads and sail out into the open ocean, moving parallel to the spectacular craggy coastline, propelled by nothing but the wind. So cast off the bowlines and raise sails to the wind, it will be an adventure of a lifetime.
Operators: www.springtide.ca.za, www.featherbed.co.za , www.southernyachting.co.za
Summer is in full swing and over the next couple of months, Knysna & Partners will be highlighting many of the varied activities which can be enjoyed throughout the Greater Knysna region, from wild, adrenaline-fuelling pursuits to milder, more relaxing options.
Wild Adventure – Sandboarding with Dune Adventures
Our Greater Knysna coastline is well known for its long, sweeping beaches and sinuous coastal dune fields, which serve as the ideal playground for sandboarding - an adrenaline-peaking adventure sport which has seen a spike in popularity in recent years. It is somewhat similar to snowboarding in technique, but instead of carving up powder-white snow, one careens swiftly over soft sand dunes instead. Sound like fun? Well, if you are keen to test your mettle on our local dune fields, call local adventure company Dune Adventures. They offer sandboarding tours perfectly geared towards adventure seekers, kids and families looking for a great day outdoors. All their guides are fully trained to instruct you on how to ‘carve up your first tracks’ on these soft dune fields or to hone your existing sandboarding skills. They use only professionally built boards with high quality straps designed for the sole purpose of sandboarding. Instruction takes place on an ideally suited dune in Brenton on Sea which is well known among South African sandboarding enthusiasts as one of the most superior in South Africa for sand quality, dune heights and ease of riding
Cost: R350 per person for 2 ½ – 3hrs.
Bring along: Sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, tons of energy and a sense of adventure!
Mild Adventure – Bird Watching at Rondevlei Bird Hide
Are you looking to escape the madding crowds? Head out at dawn to the Rondevlei Bird Hide, the perfect place to enjoy quiet reflection and the pleasant observation of our avian wonders. Part of the Wilderness Lakes System, Rondevlei is a very special natural asset, and one of three interconnected lakes linked to the Indian Ocean. All three lakes support such an amazing variety of bird species that it was designated a Ramsar site in 1991; meaning that it has been acknowledged as a wetland of international importance and thus worthy of special protection.
These wetlands cradle immense biodiversity, supporting high concentrations of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrate species. They play an important ecological role, such as providing nursery areas for fish, and feeding and staging areas for significant populations of resident and migratory birds. At the Rondevlei Bird Hide, may be lucky to have sightings of Yellow Wagtails, Greater-crested Grebes, Red-knobbed Coots (which can number here in their thousands), Purple Herons, Blacksmith Plovers, Purple Swamphens.
Other birds seen here include the seasonal roosting of the African Spoonbill, and the Malachite Kingfisher, (this bird is a resident which is very often seen at the hide as it fishes from the dead stump). Other highlights of this small pan includes both the Black-eared and Great Crested Grebes, (the former is relatively rare, the latter nest on this pan and may be seen in fishing flocks of up 50, where they drive shoals of fish into the shallow water for capture.)
The bird hide is located about 5km from Sedgefield and is accessed via Wilderness National Park Research Laboratory at Rondevlei.
Summer is in full swing and over the next couple of months, Knysna & Partners will be highlighting many of the varied activities which can be enjoyed throughout the Greater Knysna area over the season, from wild adrenaline-fuelling pursuits to milder, more relaxing options.
Mild Option – Stand up Paddling
The Greater Knysna region is characterised by many diverse and beautiful bodies of water. We have an estuary, two lagoons, several lakes, meandering rivers and, of course, an extensive coastline. One of the most popular and rewarding ways in which to explore these liquid landscapes is on a Stand Up Paddling (SUP) board.
Stand up Paddling is one of the fastest growing watersports in the world and is an ideal recreational activity for those seeking to soak up the splendour of our region. It is relatively easy to learn on calm waters and is thus ideal for beginners. This traditional Hawaiian sport is a lot of fun and provides a full body workout that promotes balance and strengthens the body's core muscle groups.
There are several service providers in the area which offer SUP lessons, excursions or rentals for those keen on navigating our diverse liquid realms.
Tony Cook Adventures: www.tonycookadventures.co.za
Ocean Odyssey: www.oceanodyssey.co.za
Afrovibe Backpackers: www.afrovibe.co.za
Wild Option – Paragliding
Have you ever dreamt of soaring on coastal thermals? Well the Greater Knysna area is a genuine Mecca for paragliding, because our warmer months deliver the ultimate thermal conditions necessary for this fast growing, adrenalin-fuelled adventure sport. If you travel through our area along the N2 during this time, you may be witness to the regular spectacle of summer skies peppered with the colourful ‘wings’ of high-flying adrenalin seekers.
The allure of paragliding is not merely the ultimate sense of freedom that hanging around high up in the sky gives you. Another plus is that, at such elevation, you are able to quietly grasp the absolute loveliness of this part of the world; a never ending coastline fringed by forested dunes, mountains, lakes and estuaries.
There are several different launch sites used by the various operators in the area, and the site for each flight is chosen according to whether the essential thermal conditions are present.
Dolphin Paragliding: www.dolphinparagliding.co.za
Altitude Paragliding: www.altitudeparagliding.com
Cloudbase Paragliding: www.cloudbase.co.za
Flytime Paragliding: www.flytimeparagliding.com
Knysna’s famous breath-taking estuary offers an array of boating activities by various operators, all of which serve to reveal the beauty and showcase the diversity of this vast liquid realm.